We Will Do Our Part to Sustain California’s Water Supply

By Tim Brown, Chairman, President and CEO of Nestlé Waters North America
Apr 29, 2015 10:00 AM ET

Like all Californians, we at Nestlé Waters are deeply concerned about the effect this drought is having on families, farmers, consumers and businesses. After all, the state is home to more than 7,000 Nestlé employees and their families. As California plans for another year of drought conditions, all water use is understandably being closely examined. We applaud Governor Brown for his leadership in addressing this crisis and will do our part to help this cause.

The Governor has called for mandatory water reductions of 25% in cities and towns across the state. In light of this, Nestlé is committed to doubling down on our drought mitigation efforts. Already, our largest California plant is Silver LEED certified and includes features such as non-irrigated landscaping and low-flow plumbing. We have made investments in all five of our facilities in California to further reduce the amount of water used for bottling and non-bottling processes. In 2014, we invested in conservation measures, which are projected to save at least 1.4 million gallons of water in California each year.

We know there is more to do, so we are implementing a top-to-bottom review of our drought contingency plans, actively seeking new ways to improve our operations in California to save water across Nestlé facilities, as we have done globally.

Though such systemic changes can’t happen overnight, we understand the urgency of the moment and will act as soon as possible communicating immediate actions and future commitments.

We also understand the sentiment from certain parts of the public questioning how a large company like Nestlé could possibly bottle water sourced from California during a drought. The reality is that our California operations are providing people water for consumption, not wasting a precious natural resource.

We believe there is no quick fix to this, no silver bullet.

Like us, lawmakers, businesses and even everyday Californians are having to re-examine the way they’ve been doing things in the wake of this drought. We need short-term actions from everyone as well as long-term solutions like those contemplated by the Governor’s bond proposal. Beyond that, even more innovative solutions will be needed to provide enough water for an increasing population — especially in this age of climate change.

We welcome review of Nestlé’s global sustainability record. We have lowered emissions, phased out refrigerants, and dramatically eliminated waste. Yet there is more to be done. As the world’s largest food and beverage company, we understand what we do matters and that we can play a unique role in moving the needle on environmental issues. In moving forward, we acknowledge the need for greater transparency and believe the best solutions will arrive because of a rich collaboration between business and civil society.

Though bottled water is a small fraction of one percent of California’s water use and requires less water to produce than any other packaged beverage, responsible management is still critical.

As a business with a more than 100-year history in California’s communities and one that operates 5 of the 108 bottled water plants in the state, we take our role seriously. For that reason, we are committed to doing our part to support conservation efforts and the long-term environmental sustainability of California.

Learn more about our about our water stewardship in California here.